Yes, that Jäger.
Sure, the German bottle is most closely associated with college shenanigans. But once you take away the branding (and bury those unfortunate flashbacks), you'll find a sweet, complex herbal digestif. Jäger proudly touts the 56 herbs and spices in its formula and has many close relatives in the cocktail world. Jäger is significantly sweeter than a lot of its counterparts, but as long as you compensate for that in a cocktail, you'll find it is a lot more mixable than you might think. Just do yourself a favor and lay off the Red Bull.
Easy: Jäger Manhattan
The classic Manhattan: whiskey plus sweet vermouth. What does sweet vermouth contribute? Something sweet (obviously) and something complex and herbal. So we swapped in Jäger to serve the latter role. To balance that sweetness, we're upping the Angostura bitters and using a 100-proof rye for the whiskey base—we like Knob Creek.
Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine 2 ounces of 100-proof rye and 1 ounce of Jäger. Add 3 dashes of Angostura. Stir until well-chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a big twist of lemon peel—twisting over the surface of the drink to spray the citrus oils all over—and a brandied cherry if you want.
Intermediate: Maestro Jäger
We're pretty proud of this cocktail, which uses the grassy, vegetal notes of a reposado tequila as a strong base for Jäger, with grapefruit juice to brighten the whole thing up. This recipe is as simple as it gets. You don't even need a sweetener.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 1 ounce reposado tequila, 1 ounce Jäger and 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice. Shake that all up and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Advanced: Jäger Float
The spicy-sweet-herbal flavors of Jäger remind us a lot of root beer and so, of course, we thought Jäger float. Jäger and bourbon topped with soda are a dead ringer for a boozy root beer, and all that's left is ice cream and a straw.
Instructions: In a tall glass with ice, pour 1 ounce bourbon and 1 ounce Jäger. Gently stir and pour in 3 ounces club soda. Top with a heaping tablespoon of vanilla ice cream.